Cybersecurity should be a prime concern for any modern business, whether you’re just a small startup trying to get its feet wet in the industry or a monolith of power in your niche. Prioritizing password management, security, and hygiene is a necessity for the coming year, especially since the COVID era increased cybercrime by about 400% just in March and April of 2020. The number of unsecured desktops increased dramatically when we were all forced to stay at home for quarantine, and there’s no guarantee we won’t be forced to stay home again. It’s time to start taking passwords more seriously.
Here are six ways to prioritize password management for your business in 2021.
1. Get A Password Manager
This is something you’ve been avoiding for one reason or another; whether it’s cost, laziness, or lack of knowledge about what password managers are and how they can help. Well, it’s time to quit messing around and take the first step towards better cybersecurity by getting yourself a password manager for business. Why? I’m glad you asked.
Not only does a password manager safely store and organize your passwords, but it also helps increase your overall cybersecurity by protecting your most important data. With a password manager, you’ll have secure storage, a password maintenance tool, and a password generator at your fingertips.
The point is that you simply can’t live without a password manager in today’s environment. A bad password on just one account can potentially jeopardize an entire system, and most people don’t have great password habits that they follow.
2. Teach Employees Password Hygiene
Speaking of password habits, how do your employees handle password creation? If they’re like most people, they’re creating passwords they can remember. You can’t remember a complex combination of numbers, letters, and symbols as easily as you can remember something like joe12345. That’s why most people use personal information in their passwords, which is dangerous behavior.
Not to mention, at least half of all internet passwords either use a single password or 2-3 passwords for all of their accounts. That means if a hacker can breach one account, he can potentially have access to a large majority of other accounts, if not all of them. Don’t reuse passwords. Teach your employees good password habits. This means never using personal data in passwords, never using the same password twice, and using the shiny new password manager you purchased this year.
3. Monitor For Breaches
Not enough businesses are constantly monitoring for vulnerabilities and breaches, and that’s why we end up with such huge data breaches. The sooner you can catch a breach, the sooner you can act; and the only way to do that is to constantly monitor your systems. If you see something suspicious, you’ll have more time to act if you’ve already been monitoring. Most breaches have already occurred when companies notice them, and that’s already too late.
You should monitor every aspect of your security, but especially your company passwords. Send employees reminders to change their passwords, and use a password manager to help you organize and send you reminders of when passwords are outdated or compromised.
4. Respond Immediately
If you see suspicious activity, don’t sit around and wait to figure out what it is. Act immediately. Change your passwords (all of them, if you can), and take whatever further action is necessary. Make sure everyone knows as soon as possible when a breach or suspicious activity occurs, so the entire company can respond in a timely manner. Cybersecurity comes down to the cohesiveness of your team and your password habits, so respond quickly, get everyone on the same page, and change those passwords!
5. Spend The Money!
The best tip for password management in 2021? Spend the money on the right tools. You can teach your employees effective password management habits, but if they don’t have the right tools at their disposal to facilitate those habits, your efforts are wasted. The monthly cost of a password manager is nowhere near the average cost of a data breach for small businesses. Most small businesses seriously underestimate the potential costs of a data breach, which can be anywhere from $150,000-$200,000 on average. That means it can be more or less, but I’m willing to bet you don’t have a data breach account with hundreds of thousands of dollars tucked away. Remember that prevention is always better than reaction.
6. Host Mandatory Training Sessions
Most importantly of all, you have to keep your employees updated and learning. This means hosting training sessions (which you should make mandatory) about good password habits, online behavior, and the importance of creating good passwords for work accounts. A single bad link can sever the entire chain, so make sure everyone is on the same page for 2021!